‘In heatwave, indoor stay can be worse’ | India News – Times of India


The latest findings on indoor heat highlight the vulnerability of women, the elderly and children who spend a lot of time inside their homes, especially in rural areas with erratic electricity and drinking water, said researchers from Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR). “People are often told to stay indoors in a heatwave, but that can actually be worse,” said Premsagar Tasgaonkar, the study’s lead author.
For the study, he and others measured temperatures inside different kinds of low-income homes in Delhi, Dhaka (Bangladesh), and Faisalabad (Pakistan) and in rural Jalna and Yavatmal, as well as outdoor temperature and humidity. They also surveyed the households on coping measures and health effects.

Unsurprisingly, tin-roof homes were found to be the hottest in the afternoons. But they also cooled down faster than concrete-roof houses in the evenings in some locations, the study found. Interestingly, in Delhi, homes with stone roofs recorded the highest mean monthly temperature in summer. In Jalna, thatchroof homes were the coolest — 35. 1 degrees C compared to 36. 8 degrees C and 36. 9 degrees C in concrete and tin homes, respectively. Thatch homes were owned by the poorest and did not protect well against rains, said Dipak Zade, W OTR researcher and study co-author.
The findings highlight the need to tackle indoor as well as rural heat stress, researchers said, noting most heat a ction plans focus on cities. Though urban areas can be hotter than rural ones —due to the impact of concrete development — semiarid regions like Yavatmal and Jalna have few trees and water bodies to cool down temperatures, Zade said.
Rural homes also have less access to regular electricity and drinking water. More of the Delhi homes had both fans and coolers compared with Jalna, the survey found. And despite being located in open area
s, rural homes are not necessarily better ventilated. Approximately 47% of low-income homes surveyed in the capital had cross-ventilation compared with 25% in Yavatmal and 41% in Jalna. Between the two rural sites, Yavatmal homes seemed better equipped for the heat, with most having coolers in addition to fans. That might be because the area is historically a designated hot zone, said Tasgaonkar.
“With rising global temperatures, even those areas that have not been hot zones need to be prepared,” he said.
The government should consider subsidising desert cooler s and setting up community shelters, they said.
The study, published in Nature Scientific Data, “fills a key gap on understanding how heat is mediating everyday life, indoors and outdoors”, said Chandni Singh, a climate researcher with Indian Institute of Human Settlements and an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change lead author who did not work on the study.





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